tv Washington Journal CSPAN November 17, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EST
on the blue dog the coalition. later, a discussion of the home mortgage market and the economy. this is "washington journal." [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] host: welcome to "washington journal" this wednesday, november 17, 2010. another full day on capitol hill with hearings and committee meetings. secretary of state hillary clinton and the top members of the senate foreign relations committee will talk about the start treaty, which is in the news. and the debt reduction tax -- task force unveils its recommendations for the national budget. the head of the tea s.a. will visit the senate commerce committee. house democrats and republicans gathered to choose their leadership team. we got a sense of what the leadership will look like in the
senate yesterday. our question to start up the show is, do leadership elections matter? as we see the women and men that will be leading the senate and house republican and democratic caucuses. the numbers to call -- you can also e-mail us and you can find us on twitter. our question for you is, do leadership elections matter? to start off, giving us a sense of what is going on in capitol hill and a preview today we have jonathan allen from politico. thank you for talking to us so early. dishes -- give of stay cents about a leadership is shaping up in the senate. looks a lot like what we have seen. guest: in the senate is almost
exactly the same. on the democratic side, majority leader harry reid of nevada and the majority whip dick durbin of it and illinois staying in the same spots. minority side, mitch mcconnell, republican leader, and john kyl republican-led. conference chairman, lamar alexander. the one major change is that chuck schumer, who has been at the leadership table in a variety of ways for the last several years, he is being given a greater portfolio, a little bit more of an ability to set strategy. he is acknowledged as one of the democrats better strategists and tacticians both on the campaign level and on the floor. so, i think they are looking at giving him an opportunity to combine some of those skills. but essentially the same folks on both sides. host: what is the significance of thing staying so much the
same? guest: i think there is stability for the caucuses. they certainly know what to expect from leadership. the senate is a very stable and stodgy body. some ways a comforting thing for senators. most don't want to be in the leadership. a lot of work for little reward. you get a little bit more money, but it's not the best job of the world. typically majority leaders of late have had tough reelection races. in part, there is some significant -- republicans obviously are confident in their leadership team. they picked up six seats this time around. a lot of democrats on the board for this last election. on the democratic side, simply a matter of everyone returning and nobody being challenged. host: you started up a story by writing -- "top house democrats
are throwing themselves a party to anticipate their reelection to leadership position." give us a sense of what we will be hearing from the democratic caucus? guest: that they believe that their leadership team, nancy pelosi, who all but shortly be elected minority leader, steady lawyer, jim clyburn -- the people to lead them back to the majority. pelosi was there four years ago when they were in the minority. that will be the argument. she will raise a lot of money. she will keep the liberal based enthusiastic. that is what they are going to go with. i think there are a lot of people of around the country scratching their heads thinking that it looks unusual for a party that lost 60 seats to elect the same slate. we will know in two years it that was a good decision.
host: new report on dynamics of a closed-door meeting that happened. it will not just those serving in january, but also the losers of the recent midterm election. it sounds like you were able to get behind the scenes look at the conversation. was this a cathartic moment for people who were not reelected? were they able to air their grievances and help plan for the future a little bit? guest: they were able to air their grievances. i think the people who lost 1 to influence their colleagues. some people who were supportive of speaker pelosi. one in particular, alan grayson, spoke about how proud he was of the accomplishments of the current congress. another one of ohio saying he was proud to vote for the healthcare bill, the proudest moment of his life. his mother had been sick when he was very young. he had a personal stake in that. on the other side, there were losers who said it was a really
bad idea basically for democrats to put nancy pelosi back. a representative from florida said nancy pelosi was the face of the democratic defeat, meaning she had been the focus of advertisements across the country. one report is that $65 million were spent on ads district by district tying members of congress to nancy pelosi. alan boyd said that. there were some people who agreed in that sentiment. certainly it was a contentious and long caucus meeting -- meeting that went on for hours. it broke up at one point and then reconvened. there was a lot of consternation among the smaller, moderate group of democrats who saw a lot of their friends lose on election day and hope they did not be all the same fate two years from now. host: let us turn to republicans. your colleague at politico is dissecting why the meeting between the president and the senate and house folks --
actually, rather, the house -- has been postponed. there was a sense the president would meet thursday with the bipartisan house summit but that has been pushed back to the end of the month. tell us what? guest: i think there is a lot of distrust between the white house and republican leaders on the hill, and it stems in part from a session during the health-care debate where republicans were meeting in baltimore and the president at the last meeting announced he wanted to come visit and talk with them and they felt that he came in and commandeered their meeting and lectured them publicly in a way that they felt was a little unseemly. so, i think there is a lot of mistrust between the two sides. republicans are trying to fit their leadership team and transition. i think you just have a situation here where the desired scheduling of the white house and that of the republicans and congress in conflict and republicans in congress have a
lot more swagger these days having just won so many seats in both chambers that they feel -- if they can dictate to the president believed he will not be able to dictate to them. a little bit of pettiness, perhaps, and some serious hurt feelings from the past. host: you see this as a flexing of muscles to some degree by the house and senate republican leadership? guest: absolutely, the message has been sent. the president needs to come calling and asking for a meeting and not just demanding. host: representative charles rangel. looks like the executive committee will meet tomorrow to consider his punishment. how big is this and capitol hill? guest: very big. another overshadowed by the leadership elections but a high of #two story on capitol hill. the prospect of a 40-year member of congress and one who is so
well known nationally and so well liked personally in the capital being reprimanded by the house of representatives is something that has certainly got a lot of people talking and certainly has a lot of people said. even colleagues of his who disagree with him politically have said that they are said to see him in this state this late in his career. host: thank you so much for joining us. guest: take care. host: are question this morning is, do leadership elections matter. let's take a look at some of the key players that will be on the stage, january. this comes from "usa today." the senate shows its leadership team yesterday. majority leader looks to be harry reid of nevada again. as jonathan alan mentioned, chuck schumer will have a slightly different role. senate republicans, minority --
gop conference chairman is lamar alexander of tennessee. we will get a sense as the day goes on how the house republicans and democrats will choose their leadership but it does not look like it will be any surprise. the speaker of the house is likely to be john boehner of ohio, majority leader, virginian eric cantor and majority whip kevin mccarthy of california. nancy pelosi looks like the minority leader. steny hoyer and james clive barnes -- james clyburn in that order. a special position was made for james clyburn as assistant leader. lynn of the democrats' line. did the leadership elections matter to you? caller: absolutely critical. i have a few examples.
first, i wanted to just thank you for having jonathan on parent he is an excellent commentator. the leadership positions provide such an influence on how the nation's direction is going to be affected. there is a counterbalancing voice in the minority role, to protect the nation's citizens and consumers in many areas. a couple of examples -- investment affairs leadership, increased funding for veterans assistance was opposed by the gop. as the wife of a vet who died because of inadequate the a resources and mother and aunt to active service members it is a concern. judiciary delays. slowing the process. the environment.
the gulf oil spill, the proposed gop leadership is likely to protect companies like bp who were careless in protecting the environment. finance, they would likely withhold funding for the new consumer agency those are just a few examples, and i would expect it would be a similar impact in almost all of the committees that we have. host: let's go to ken in wisconsin on our independent line. caller: obviously whoever rules the house has of the agenda. i think what the democrats are pretty much saying is they are not going to change anything that they have been doing the last two years. and it looks like the republicans have heard from the people and at least i think at this stage, given what has taken
place with the in-house voting on earmarks in the republican party, it looks like they heard what the people had to say, or have been saying over the last two years, and that is that we are sick of government, we are sick of more government and more government and more regulation. we want things to change. so, i think there are things happening there. but i think the battle lines are drawn based on what happened with harry reid and and the choice of that leadership. and what i assume what will happen in the house, pelosi and hoyer and more of the leftist socialist marxist agenda. the battle lines will be drawn. host: let us leave it there and look at this. our caller mentioned that he
expects nancy pelosi to become the minority leader. as we see from "usa today" there is a note that she is being challenged by he's schuler -- heath schuler from north carolina. we will talk about that, the more moderate and conservative members of the democratic caucus. we will hear more about that. but you can see from politico "dems in chaos over pelosi power." he puts the democratic old guard will try to hold the line between the rank and file rebellion intent of winning concessions, no matter how small. let's go on to los angeles, california, where james, a republican calls in.
caller: you look fabulous, by the way. host: what you think, james? do leadership elections matter? caller: absolutely. leadership, it boils down to character and ethics. when you talk about leadership roles, it could be military, law enforcement, politics, parenting, if you don't have ethics and character within yourself to lead, how are you supposed to lead? you are in a leadership role. you are setting the precedent for your constituents and the nation. thank you. host: let's go to flint, michigan. chris, democrats' line. good morning. caller: it definitely matters. host: and why? caller: it matters because of the fact that the leadership verbally through spin or what
ever you want to call it, is espousing the collective caucus opinion. you know, that election reflects that caucus opinion. but even after the election, it matters because of the fact that the people need to balance moral rectitude with a moral arrogance and the pragmatic reality of legislating sausage making -- it is an ugly process. the pragmatic reality is, it is ugly sometimes. host: as a self-proclaimed democrat, what do you think about nancy pelosi as the minority leader? she is saying she can do the political maneuvering and we'll then have the hammer it might require over the next couple of years. caller: i agree. the thing of it is it is not
because i have a pelosi stamp on my posterior, but she brought about a coalition like she did in 2006. but -- above and beyond that, i think she is best suited to verbally articulate the concerns of the democratic caucus. like, one of your earlier caller said something about marxist agenda. democrats aren't marxists, they are socialists -- are its socialist. as a democrat myself, i and a conscientious capitalist. by that i mean i want to see sustainable capitalism. and in the last 30 years, trickle-down economics has failed. host: let us go back to this piece by jonathan allen in "politico."
let's hear from mike. another democratic caller calling from pennsylvania. do you agree that speaker pelosi is necessary as a leader of the democrats in the house? caller: i don't know if i agree with that. we have to have a leader that is going to say to the party, we have to do what's best for the people, not what best for this party. as far back as i can remember, they laid by leading their party and not by the country. active duty -- everywhere i have
been, good leaders lead by example and example is, cutting the budget and they are talking about doing away with the necessities people need it -- medicare, social security. that should be put on the back burner. what about things like cutting pork barrel projects? what about the jury what doesn't need to be done? let's start from the top. host: do you want to see more room for the blue dog democrats? caller: absolutely. host: you want to see one of them in a leadership role? caller: i think they would be good in a leadership role, trying to lead by example. host: fred, republican. caller: i would -- after 2006, during the bush presidency of the economy was booming.
lowest unemployment numbers in the history of the country. and when the democrats took over in 2006, a tank in the economy and blame everything on the republicans. since she has taken control they ran through policies put that they would not be able to pass with bipartisanship. they have had little impact on the people's work. what they are doing is just passing whatever they want to do. she is totally blind to what the -- what the people want and for them to keep the lead in the same people -- i live in maryland and the democrats have had a stranglehold in the state for 300 years. there have been seven republicans representing this state. with the leadership in annapolis being democratic, there's really nothing you can get done. so, if i see her as a leader in the house again, there is going to be more gridlock and things definitely against the country. host: let's look at a story from "the new york times" talking
about senate leadership, the telling the facts that it looks like there will be a similar team coming back. republicans and democrats kept their teams in tact. that debate over speaker pelosi and whether she should be, the minority leader. tennessee, james. independent line. caller: sean. host: sean, good morning. sorry. the leadership elections matter? caller: i think it does. i think it shows when you look at the country, and people going against their own interest and the fact that i think pelosi should keep -- i think she should go for speaker of the house.
when you look at what obama is doing trying to help people and you have another group of people going against him, you don't know how the health care -- let us see if it works. if it helps people in the long run, you will see how good it a hit -- it is. give the man a chance. people are so stupid and a direct if you look into the callers. they are so stupid. i hate to say it. host: you want to give nancy pelosi more time? ok. let us look at what sasha wrote on twitter. maybe a tea party leader in the leadership team. tallahassee, florida. james, a democrat. caller: thanked god for c-span. the question i was trying to respond to is do we need a vote on the leadership. i say, yes, because it is a democratic society. any leadership needs to be voted on by even a diminishing number
of people that do the representing of the people. specifically about the democrats, pelosi is a very astute -- she is a states person, she is not only a politician. she is a state person who can get things done. any idiot knows that in two years when a regime is trying to make some real structural changes that it is going to take more than bad to enact laws -- more than that to enact laws and more than that to see if they were not. we need to get away from corporate propaganda so much because we don't elect corporate ceo. we can't fire them, reinstate them, or put them out, whereas the president and congress can be reelected -- at least they can try if we don't act so stupid. yes, we do need to vote on
leadership positions regardless of where they are in art that the merc -- democratic government. host: brad, republican. good morning. caller: leadership matters. just want to make an observation. democrats are such hypocrites. they preach diversity, but yet they are throwing a black man under the bus. steny hoyer -- james clyburn won at the number two position. they are not going to pick him. they are going to pick the white man. also, look at charlie rangel. he was up for hearings. waters -- look at them. they are just throwing all the blacks on the bus. that is all i have to say. thank you. host: we will be talking more about the charlie rangel trial and what is happening there. he will be facing the ethics committee meeting to consider punishment for him later on this
week. there are other issues over leadership, other questions about not just congressional leadership of the leadership of fund-raising arms and things like that. we will also talk about that this morning. let's go to illinois, robert on the democrats' line. caller: i really enjoyed the cartoons that you guys started placing on the television on your show. they are great. the political cartoons. i wish you guys had a button that would cut off all the racist calls. host: we do not condone racist calls and you are referring to the last caller, he was getting as opinion of what he sees the democrats doing but i welcome your opinion if it is different. caller: but there have been other calls in the previous shows that have been a very racist. getting back to the leadership thing, i am a lifelong democrat and i became a tea party membe when i saw the congress give the
president of mexico is standing ovation for consulting one of our own states. that is not the united states when you let another country, in an blast another state. second of all, when nancy pelosi said that we should pass the healthcare book -- bill and then read it. that is not democracy and that is not america. the last statement i like to say is, i don't think she should be retained. i think all -- all democrats should stand together. when you have a losing football team or an agenda that has been going on that has been negated by the voters thought of america that do not aggrieved -- democrats, republicans, independents, why would you send in the same personal that's the same programs? host: let us look at "the washington post" story.
after meeting with other members on monday night he told reporters we are still working on it. several caucus members suggested they will withhold their votes from below -- pelosi if details are not provided about clyburn's responsibilities or they could go along with a block of moderate democrats and blue dogs to limit pelosi's authority as minority leader.
representative barbara lee of california at said we had a full discussion of we want to look at the portfolio being developed with mr. clyburn's input and we went to see what that portfolio would be. information about one of the power struggles in the leadership of the house. let us go to texas where leon joins us, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning pettitte -- good morning. host: you think leadership elections matter? caller: it is just a shining example of how the government is corrupted and messed up. toidn't send somebody washington to be led around by anyone else. i can't see why they need to be led. these are grown people. these are people who are in charge of millions of lives and you need somebody to lead you around?
come on. we are talking millions of lives. we are talking about my grand baby's future. these people need to stop being led around by the nose and they need to stand up and do -- and do what they said they would do. host: let's look at an e-mail that comes to us from joe. he says -- we will hear more of your e- mails. you can also call us. our question for you is, the leadership elections matter.
there is a story from "the wall street journal" this morning. democrats their feelings on below shape -- pelosi and talked-about the closed-door meeting and a tense and somber meeting. democrats urged house speaker nancy pelosi to abandon her bid to remain her party's leader in the house. we hear a little bit about what happened behind the scenes at and how some of the conversations are taking place on capitol hill. let's go to nashville, chase, good morning. caller: as i am listening to a lot of people talk i have to agree with the gentleman from illinois. but as a republican, you know, leadership elections are very important. and people should tell the congressmen and their respective parties who they want to be the next leaders of the house, because we all know, the constitution calls for a speaker of the house and a leader in the senate. but it's all messed up. pelosi needs to step down. if her own party is saying you
are detrimental to our own survival, the right thing for her to do is to step aside. host: let me ask you this. you are a republican. i spoke to congressman don young of alaska who is actually one of the most senior republicans in the house, serving his 20th term coming in january and he said there should be more power and focus on committee chairmen and less on political leadership. what do you think about that? caller: i worked a lot in state governments working with our state members to pass legislation. you will notice that at the committee level, that is where it lives or dies. i would agree with it. we tried to pass the health care freedom act in tennessee that basically says tennesseeans have a right to choose their health care -- they can take the federal plan, if they choose, they can take their own private plan, or they could go without, but they would be subject to paying medical costs. it was killed in committee.
so, committees are very important. they maybe have been made to important by today's standards, but nonetheless, yes, there should be and this is on subcommittees' and committees. host: let us look at "the washington post." in the republican national committee, the political director resigns and takes aim at steele. at the time line -- rnc will vote in january for chairman.
we will see that play out. "the new york times" also writes about the registration letter -- resignation letter that criticizes michael steele and pointedly questioned his credibility. let's go to chicago, illinois. rose, good morning. caller: i have a little issue with c-span. c-span has had on a couple of tea party-only call-ins throughout this past year. now you are asking about leadership and how many republicans or tea party people call in, continue to bash nancy
pelosi as murdoch has done since the nancy pelosi has taken a gamble. let's ignore that. how many tea party leaders are -- how many tea party primaries knocked out republicans? now we are talking about speaker pelosi and the leadership is republicans and the primary is knocked out the republicans, the tea party did this. where are the tea party leaders? host: let me ask you. speaker pelosi says one of the reasons she has been targeted by some money on the right is because she is so influential and effective. do you agree? i think we lost a rose. let us move on to elisabeth who is a democrat in georgia. let me ask that question to you. do you think speaker pelosi is correct by saying the reason why she is target is often is she is
effective? caller: i think so. i thought she was like a little helpless bird at first but i was surprised and happy. i know she is a democrat. it was not always easy to figure out whether the president was progressive or not. but i think it is easy to figure out that pelosi is. we can depend on hard to believe the way we do. i don't think the democrats should change. i think had the president put forth his policies in a stronger manner -- i heard on c-span, i believe it was some show, then 19 million young people, between 19 and 29 did not vote this time. at the present been stronger -- pelosi has many things to help young people and i only hope the
next election they will both and put her in for six more years. host: let us look at the details of the leadership in the republican conference in the senate. we talked about a couple of the top. senator mitch mcconnell returning as leader. number two, senator kyl, republican whip, then alexander of tennessee. senator barrasso will be vice chairman and jeff -- john cornyn, committee chairman. sorry, john thune is #four and senator barrasso is no. 5 and then senator cornyn. there was a vote yesterday to keep him in that role. then five position, senator barrasso, a lot of different. lisa murkowski had stepped down from that when she launched her write-in bid, she was asked to
step down. let us look at the democrats will be leaving their caucus in the senate. a senator in no way, president pro tem -- inouye. senator dick durbin, assistant majority leader. chuck schumer, vice chair of the conference and share of the democratic policy committee. senator patty murray, secretary of conference and did the stabbing now, by chair -- debbie stabenow, vice chair. speaking of the alaska senate race, we mentioned senator murkowski. "anchorage daily news" reports she is leading the vote count but joe miller once a can three counts. -- demand a recount.
senator murkowski is expected to announce her victory later on today. let's go to our democrats' line in hollywood, florida. do you think leadership elections matter? caller: i think nancy pelosi has been a very effective speaker. i think she has been -- there is misogyny and sexism. they resent the fact she is so successful and productive. my problem is, the democratic party is not as progressive as i would like it to be. the health-care bill that was passed was a bill that --
republican decision making. host: i am sorry we have to cut you off. we are having trouble under -- hearing you but i get the gist of what you were saying, wanting a more progressive movement. let's go to lou, who is a republican in connecticut. caller: i am a registered republican but i have been voting libertarian since the mid-1990s's or so. nancy pelosi. isn't this the same woman who when last year to copenhagen for the global climate change some of the jet to leave early before the 3 ft. blizzard was barely into d.c. host: we heard a lot about speaker pelosi. why do you think leadership elections matter, in the republican party, as an independent, how does it make a difference? caller: i am not too big on leaders. i am not the type of person who looks up to leaders. i want all of these worthless
busybodies in d.c. get out of our lives, cut the size of the federal government by 90% and get these clowns to stop trying to regulate and micromanage us into oblivion. host: let us look at some of the other news stories and the major papers this morning. bush and cheney praise each other at an event. former president george w. bush and former vice president richard cheney took turns defending its other at a ground- breaking ceremony for the bush presidential center in dallas. bush said he had no doubt that cheney was the right take and dick cheney says history is starting to judge bush more kindly. we see an image of condoleezza rise, former president bush, his wife laura bush and exchange ceremony late turning over the earth at the ground breaking at southern methodist university in dallas. obama deficit panel gets competition. this from "the new york times." a bipartisan group will present a deficit reduction plan that
goes beyond the spending cuts and tax proposals -- we will hear more about that today. international news. ireland debt crisis triggers a merchant -- emergency talk. ireland that a debt crisis forced european officials to the emergency talks to try to contain the countriesrobls and doubts surfaced about how an international fund established this year to help the beleaguered european economies would worked in practice. we are seeing that happen overseas. let's get back to the calls. laura, democratic caller in chicago. do leadership elections matter? caller: yes, they do. and i want nancy pelosi tuesday as the leader of the democrat party. i believe that she will. and i also feel that it is the
republicans and the tea party that are the most -- that complain the most and that want her out. and i find that fox network and rupert murdoch and that whole clan of people like huckabee, sarah palin, all the people that are going on the, they are bashing the democrats, dashing into pelosi and look at her record, it's been phenomenal. host: getting back to the question. why do you think that leadership elections really matter? did they steer the direction of the congress? caller: i think it matters and it definitely does steer where we are going in the future. host: let us leave it there and look at what were news story. senator kyl's statement deals setback for obama's push toward start. it is from "the washington
the think leadership elections matter? caller: they do. the more republicans to get in the house, the more votes for you, i guess, that's how it works, isn't it? host: washington, d.c., where paul joins us. turn down your radio or tv first, please. ok, do leadership elections matter? caller: they matter. nancy pelosi should remain the leader. host: let's go to sharon in north carolina. caller: how are you? you do a great job, by the way. i truly believe that leadership matters. if anything, pelosi has pushed through a lot of things. i would like to see her in the senate. i think they definitely need to reelect her. she is a force to be reckoned with. host: you say you are an independent caller. what do you say about the
republican side? are they on the right track with their leadership? caller: i know they are likely to choose him and he really doesn't do much for me. i think it matters on their side also. like i said, john boehner doesn't do much for me. i don't know who else is there that really does anything for me as far as the republican side goes right now. i certainly don't want to see one of those tea baggers in there, they definitely do nothing for me. i think it is important pelosi stays. host: some of the tea party supporters do want to see one of their members in the leadership role. we will see who is able to step forward. perhaps cristi nome whatever presentation there, representing a freshman. independent line -- do we have sharon? sorry. let's go to adam, democrats'
line in maryland. caller: hi. i don't really know if the leadership vote really matters because in the end of looks like congress is being influenced by special interest behind-the- scenes with all the money poured into the campaigns. so, i don't really know if it matters so much who is the leader for either party. i don't think nancy pelosi deserves to be in. i don't have any great feeling about john boehner, either. host: what do you think does matter? if you are not so focused on leadership, what does matter here in congress? caller: until they start addressing real reform, and that's real campaign finance reform, to not allow this kind of money to be poured into the campaigns, and tackling issues that really matter, because i believe it was mitch mcconnell that said his top priority for the next two years is to make sure barack obama does not get reelected. i don't think most of the people
in this country think it is a top priority. the economy is obviously no. one. national security is big. health care will be something that will be debated on and on. but i think -- it sounds like it will be politics as usual no matter who is elected. host: democrat in maryland. do leadership elections matter? caller: yes, i think it does matter. it determines the direction of the country. so, i think it is very important. however, this is just a message for all of the leaders who are currently in political positions, a message from the young people that we are watching them and these upcoming elections we will be paying close attention. host: let's take a look at one last news story today. honored soldier as humble as he is a heroic. in a ceremony both joyous and bittersweet --
>> live this weekend, join offers sebastian g authors as book tv had to the 27th annual miami book fair international. follow the offers in panel discussions and join in with your calls, e-mails, and tweets. like all weekend on c-span2's "book tv." listen to landmark supreme court cases saturday. >> in texas, when and still are not able to receive abortions from unlicensed doctors because doctors still fear that they will be prosecuted under the statute. >> this week, part two of our role versus wade. argued in 1972 it is still argue one of the court's most controversial decisions. listen to it at 6:00 p.m.
eastern on c-span at radio, washington, d.c., 90.1 fm, nationwide x m132 and nationwide on c-span radio.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: senator tom coburn, republican of oklahoma. thank you for being here. a busy week on capitol hill as everyone returns to get down to business. what are you hearing about the influence of the tea party as people return and assess the midterm elections? amst: i don't know that i hearing anything about them specifically other than to recognize the fact they played in the election. there are several new senators who had tremendous tea party support. i think it has been a healthy exercise for our country because it is focused really on the real problems that we face fiscally and probably
institutionally in washington. the bad habits that washington has better challenged by the tea party. host: somef the folks who ran with tea party support in the senate races across the country cited jim demint and u s two of their most inspiration of figures. i know joe miller did up in alaska. not all of the folks one, though. the think the message is still getting through? guest: look, the basic tea party message is government is too big, it is outside the bounds of what it was intended, and the spending and the debt are a real risk for the future liberties of american people. that resonates across a broad spectrum of america. and so, i don't think anybody will lost lost on the basis of what they embrace but that they were beaten by someone else.
amica has to come back at -- and look at the basic problems challenging us. host: you can join the conversation -- yesterday the republican caucus in the senate decided to have a self-imposed ban on earmarks. you are a supporter of that. guest: absolutely. host: how did that gain momentum? that was not always the most popular viewpoint. guest: no, it wasn't. if you go back to 2005 when the bridge to nowhere was challenged in the senate when we really started this fight on earmarks, and the negative aspects, it has taken five years for the american people to see what is really there. it is interesting, a poll came out that 73% of independents, 52% of democrats and i think 67%
of republicans are adamantly opposed to the earmarking process. it is because of the consequential bad things that are associated with them. a year marks in and of themselves are not a bad thing. but what it has caused us to do in the result has been tremendously negative for the country in terms of this budget. host: why not reform the system? senators, members of the house, who do support earmarks, especially some of them -- some of the democrats are saying it is not time to throw them out altogether. some said reform the system, get rid of corruption -- guest: they are other corruption, that is the problem. they are the dollar trade that causes people to vote differently than what they would vote for the best interest of the country. the way you get rid of the corruption is to start asking congress to do its job, which is
to oversight the federal government. what happens is, we allows special interests to influence where money is spent. so if you are well heeled and well-connected or you are connected into a campaign organization and can raise money, you can bet you are going to get a benefit financially out of the federal government. that has nothing to do with a free society and a republic form of government. so, what has to happen is you have to stop that process and then the consequences of not having money go directly to where members of congress might go -- wanted, you need to oversight executive branch agencies to make sure they are doing a good job. host: 8 editorial says blasting earmarks is a way to avoid the serious discussions about difficult spending cuts and tax increases which is the only way to dig the country out of the financial hole. guest: there is no question we have been significant spending cuts. i think they are wrong, we don't
have to raise taxes. if you look at all of the waste, fraud, abuse, you can knock up to $500 billion per year out of the federal government. the assumption that we have a revenue problem i think is wrong. it is the first that among many to get our house in order. but when in fact bills are passed because people are bought off by your march 2 will for a bill they otherwise would vote for, -- bought off by earmarks for a bill the otherwise would vote for. earmarks a gateway drug to overspending and one of the ways we got in trouble. forte -- 200 years this country did not do earmarks. this is a new phenomenon. it started in the 1970's. ronald reagan vetoed a transportation bill that had about one engine and 20 earmarks in it. this is a new phenomenon.
we operated for two runs it years -- which operated for 200 years. remember, most of them are never competitively bid. they are not sunlighted, no transparency on them, so consequently -- and the most important thing about earmarks is the undermine people's confidence in washington. what we need to do -- if our country is going to succeed and get out of this jam we are and we need to rebuild confidence and not continue to tear it down. host: some democrats as saying earmarks can be a way to halt projects at home that congressional members may have more of a handle on then the fed to do, they complained operation bills are not being passed. that using the authorization bill as a mechanism to get projects pushed through, as senator mccain said, is not realistic because the senate is not moving forward.
guest: the democrats are in control so if it wanted to put them through they had massive majorities for the last two years and four years. if they in fact wanted them to get through it would have gotten through. it is a priority. i think that is a fairly lame excuse. the fact is, most earmarks, people don't want them to be highlighted, they do not want them to be sunshined. a good portion of what we take money from americans and then resending it back out, if you look at article one, section 8, of the constitution, a new breed of powers, are not with it. we are talking about all the way from building a parking lot or for a museum in omaha, nebraska, or a sculpture garden in seattle, you have trouble finding in the constitution the authority for the federal government to be involved in
that spirit that is what you see. we are in such a deep hole right now, that unless we start changing the bill in washington i am not sure we get out. host: let us go to some of the calls. christian, republican caller in new york. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. senator, you mentioned civil liberties. i got to be honest, i believe that neither of the two major parties are interested in civil liberties. you see that with this airport thing. getting blasted with x-rays, taking nude pictures, getting fondled. i want to ask you, will you help me and many americans who care about civil liberties in protesting and standing against these measures? this whole war on terror is taking our civil liberties and they are almost gone. guest: i think there is a balance. we have allowed the threat of
terrorism to cause us to do some pretty significant things. and as somebody who goes through those systems twice a week every week, i am not happy about what we are doing. but i am not sure that you have actually lost a civil liberty if in fact there is a threat of safety in terms of transportation, because there are a lot of other ways to be transported. we opted to fly because it is fast and fairly inexpensive compared to the others. and i am not happy. i opt out every time going through the new scanners simply because i don't want the medical exposure that is associated. so, i go through the pat down in tulsa, and almost every other airports where they have the scanners rather than the magnetometers. i did you raise a very interesting point of -- think
you raise to -- if we give up freedom to be free, what we gain? guest: senator, could go back -- senator tom coburn is our guest, he is a physician. he was a member of the u.s. house in 1995 and stuck to his term-limit pledge. you served three terms. and host: let us go to our next caller, a democrat in tennessee. caller: my name is arnold joseph white. i co-authored a book called "the crime 9/11 intervention -- 9/11 inter
vention." i read a blog that said 50% of americans believe that our elections -- our electoral process is broken and the other 50% believe that it is fixed. this segment that was on before you about the leadership and direction, we need to make sure that all of our elections have relevance by making them honest. guest: about a 50% turnout the last time. some may have thought there were
relevant. we want to create a trust and confidence that we are one to do the best and right thing is in the long term for the american people. washington is an interesting place, because things are not always as they seem. i think over the last 10 or 50 or even 20 years, apathy has grown -- 15 or even 20 years, apathy has grown in our country. it has taken on issues that people say, do not do that if you want to continue to be elected to an office. you are politically not correct if you do it. i think everything ought to be on the table. we should have free debate in our country. many are willing to defend those minority positions can be wrong.
i think honest and open debate and i would like to see as get away from long-term service. i am a big believer in term lits. i think that helps us. i think it is important that we bring people with the experience in the world to congress. i am not sure that we do that. i think that is part of the reason of what i consider some stupid things are done in washington, d.c. >> senator tom coburn from oklahoma. and when it says that you talk about president obama and praise him weekly. he may not think much of the obama administration, but he still has some regard for president barack obama, the man.
can you talk to us about your philosophy relating to the president? guest: it is not just the president, but reconciliation. countries go to war because they are alienated. i think we cannot talk to somebody or have a relationship -- i like president obama as a person an individual. we became friends in the senate. i am probably out there in terms of opposition to his policy. i think he is a very unique, smart, bright individual. he is our president. we should support him where we can. we should nourish our relationships so we can have a good dialogue. host: we have someone calling us from illinois. caller: there is a new
republican house member that first got elected [unintelligible] then when he went for his orientation, there was a problem. he wanted to know if he could by the government health plan. when will the hypocrisy and? ?- end th guest: when the health care bill was going through, the members of congress will be under this health care bill that was passed. we will be in the state exchanges just like everyone else in the country. right now the members of congress have the same options as every other federal employee. i think there are 352 different plans you can choose from.
the cost increases in federal health insurance is have been less than the others. that is one problem with the health care plan. host: here is a story from "politico." what do you think about that? guest: i think it is a little bit misguided. the no. 1 seles -- social issue is we are stealing money from our kids and grandkids. what are the consequences of the american government? 25 years from now, somebody that is 2500 $1 million in debt on the federal government.
-- 25 is going to 0 $1 million in debt on the federal government. we will take and undermine the ability of our children's children to get a college education, own a home, have a car, house their families, because of what we are doing today. when you use the broad strokes social issues -- i am not going to walk away from me being pro- life. we need to look at those issues just like we look at every other issue. what we should do is work on the most important one. the most important issue on our country is a social issue. what are we going to leave our kids? right now, we will bankrupt them. host: south carolina, republican. caller: good morning.
i want to say thank you for your commitment to the american people. i am a catholic from a conservative, pro-life, and i thank you for your commitment to defending life as a united states senator and protective life socially as a doctor to care for it. my question for you today is i am leaving from south carolina. we are very proud of our senator and our new congressmen. our concern is they do not get up there. the new 60 plus members that are conservative do not get up into washington get potomac fever. after the '94 election with newt gingrich, who i hope runs for president in 2012, we do not want them to lose their ground
and realize what they were sent to do, and that is to shrink government, lower taxes, and promote the conservative cause and fight for the american people. we know that you have never lost that ground. we thank you. i hope that you can give some inspiration on how we can keep our new guys conservative and true to the conservative cause. guest: i think you have to hold the members of congress accountable. how do you do that? if you demand they have town hall meetings. you go to their offices if they will not. you demand they be transparent with their votes. end the reason why they voted. -- and the reason why they voted. freedom is not easy. we have to work at it. people tend to migrate to a position of comfort, even in washington. even in a position for a congressman or senator.
it is setting up things around you that will help you limit your arrogance and humble you and put you back on the right way. you should be reminded of what you need to be for your members and what they need to be about as well. host: our next caller. caller: why should we trust the republicans? when he mentioned ronald reagan not support of one item when he was president. ronald waken expended average deficit by 186% -- ronald reagan expanded our deficit by 186%. why should we trust you as an individual when you assist a member of the c-street to take
hush money to keep quiet about an affair? guest: i do not think he should trust republicans or democrats or any political party. what you have to do is hold your individual member [inaudible] and a debate the history. you have the most sustained growth that this country has ever seen economically in the past 50 years under the reagan administration. i came in opposing the spending of the bush administration. i was elected on the fact that i was opposing it. we label everybody. we label them in lots of different ways. what you have to do is hold people accountable. the labels are not as important as the actions. i think we need to be judged on our actions. host: year is what is set from
tulsa world. -- here is what was said from tulsa world. guest: we get all hon of on parties -- hung up on parties. we should be passed this time or we are divided and partisan and bitter. the fact is, none of this helps us retina. we have never been in trouble but we are in today. i am hesitant to speak as plainly about it as i know, because i think it is too scary.
we need to make sure we address the first things first. right to know we are in such a financial pickle that through all the partisanship -- if we through all of the partisanship out, and said, how are we going to solve this -- as long as we have the partisanship and we think back -- it is really alienation. we heard the gentleman from wisconsin. there was not only faxed he was quoting, but there was bitterness there. when we have that kind of alienation, where we cannot get past it to solve the problems in front of us, we will not solve the. we all will be worse off, whether you are a liberal, conservative, democrat, or republican. everyone loses. host: we have a caller from
ohio. caller: even though i am a democrat, i do admire a lot of republicans. i admire what you said about that you do reach out and you have a relationship with president obama. you are the first person i think i have heard a say that. i am going to make some comments really quick. as far as the earmarks in the past, why was there never anybody to make sure those things were done? they took advantage of them and did what they wanted to do. i agree with you on the limit in washington as far as leadership. we should not only tried to get jobs. -- try to get jobs.
i hope it is not like japan where everybody is bickering and nothing is accomplished. as far as the health insurance, i had to retire because i became very ill. i worked for the va medical center. my health insurance when i was with them, it went up every year. every single year. i believe that everybody should read president bush's book, because there are things that people have overlooked and the media has overlooked and have not said what he has said in his book. guest: on the earmarks, when they are not competitive, they are not over cited. here is this a chunk of money that goes to a particular area.
we did not get good value for it, whether it was a priority or not. then you never know whether they actually spent the money on the thing they were supposed to spend the money on. host: this is from "politico." was there a mistake made there? guest: you could go the other way. he supported marker rubio and charlie crist. he got elected. i do not think we help anybody by armchair quarterbacking. this is a free country and you should be able to support who you want. i am not sure anybody has all of that knowledge that they can pronounce that they know what were to happen had somebody else
been nominated. i do not think it is helpful to speculate on it. the fact is, what happened happened. there will be another election in two years, and we will see what happens. host: what is your take on the recommendations and how realistic is it? guest: let us set the stage for it. we have to do something. when this came through the senate, i did not vote for it. it was supposed to be set up by the senate and the house to do this. i think we are a have a decent commission, it is called u.s. congress. there is no urgency for us to become austere. the president set up this commission. i was appointed by our
leadership to serve on it. what has been recommended thus far in terms of the co-chairman smart -- mark, it does not go far enough. it needs to be six or $7 trillion to start making a difference in terms of whether or not we can afford our debt, whether we will have a decent interest rate on our debt. right now, we are in a very precarious position both in terms of the liquidity crisis that potentially could come. when people start rolling against the united states bonds, they will do it like that. what we need is to make sure we had expended the time to get our house in order. we have a treasury department today that is shrugging off short-term notes instead of long-term ones. by the time they want to quote
them, it will cost a whole lot more. i think the problems in front of us are of such magnitude that people should be asking us to throw off labels. i have said, i do not think we need increased taxes, but i will take it if we cut spending. we have to look down the road in solving problems for everybody, no matter what it looks like. host: are you surprised at the reaction on capitol hill to the recommendations? are you disappointed? guest: it is hard to know how it is moving forward. this is why i would love to see this -- the president stepped up and say, i do not care if you are republican or democrat, everyone of us to get out of this problem we are in, we will have to make a sacrifice. it is time for you to stop thinking about you and start
thinking about other people. if we are going to do that in have the leadership to do that, i think you could go down the road with a much more effective resolution to some of our problems with a lot less bitterness in debate. washington is about protecting the players' individual interest. it is not about doing the best thing for america. we need to be about doing what is best for america and for our kids in the generations to come. there is a lot at risk right now. we are in very troubled times. it is going to require real leadership to say i am willing to bend some to do what we need to do. host: a republican, in delaware. caller: thanks. i am sick of the shenanigans that is going on especially in washington.
democrats and republicans are fiddling around and the chinese are straight ahead of us in every category -- medical, transportation, research and development. we are piddling away our whole system. i would like to see you run for president. i am tired of the republican party filibustering every piece of legislation, all of these bills caught up in the senate. the republicans are filibustering everything against every bit of change. filibustering is not in the constitution, but yet they choose to filibuster. i would like to hear what you have to say. i appreciate you, and i like you. guest: i am probably where most
of the scores should be directed -- scorn should be directed to. i told my colleagues at the first of congress if you want to create a new program you have to eliminate some program today. we cannot keep doing this. if they are not paid for and if they are not within the constitution, article one section 8 of the constitution, we do not have any business doing it. probably part of the difficulty is with me than republicans in general. i m part of the cause of the rock that has gotten in the gears here. we have taken the party labels too far. i think we are missing it, both
democrats and republicans, if we do not start thinking about what is best for america. s a physician, i am trained to fix the real disease. the way physicians get sued is they treat symptoms instead of disease. they allow themselves to be talked into this is this, and it is not the underlying disease. i see this in a washington all the time. we treat symptoms, because it plays well in quiet things down. but it causes the underlying disease to smolder. it is like the health care bill. we did not fix the real problem. the problem with health care is that it costs too much. we did not address that. we address these other symptoms rather than the core problem. that is what i see congress do in all of the time.
we have a bill coming up to that lays on more layers of regulations on to the bureaucrats that are responsible, but it does not solve the bill problem. we have agencies that are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. that is the real problem. i am challenging the status quo on that. i think we need to do more of that. we are the safest country in the world. how much more can you spend to make it safer? can we be 100% homeless security? no. we should be asking those questions, especially in light that we have bankrupted average children. host: not letting things going through in the senate, what you think about the proposal to get rid of that secret hold?
guest: if you are holding -- there is a secret rolling hold, which would require multiple senators to do. after 72 hours, it is coming out anyway. i do not have a secret hold. anytime i hold a bill, everyone knows who is holding it. i write a letter every day saying this is the reason i hold your bill. 94% of it passes does so by unanimous consent. there is no debate or amendment and nobody ever hears about it. it just passes, because we have said if you do not object -- and we all felt we ought to do this, and we will do it unless you object. we should do it the other way. the senate was designed -- i
disagree with one caller. the senate was designed specifically to force consensus. until 1904 it took 99 to break a filibuster. then it was moved to 67. [inaudible] to have to compromise. we havnot seen that in the past couple of years because of the predominance of one party over a another. host: st. louis missouri, an independent scholar. c -- caller. caller: i would like to make a comment about the republicans' stewardship over fiscal policy. not since eisenhower has a
republican administration acknowledged the budget, yet these republicans say [unintelligible] i think it is laughable. guest: i think he has a legitimate criticism of republicans. they were voting against what was there. if you want fiscal discipline, it means a lot of republicans that make the tough votes will lose their seats because they made the right to vote. that is what we ought to be about. it is legitimate to criticize republican fiscal actions. the question is -- there is very few people that do not have a bias to grow the government,
republican or democrat. i have seen just as many republican bills as democratic bills. the bias is for the government. that is not what our founders intended. host: senator, republican of oklahoma, thanks for being with us. we will talk about the house democratic leadership election coming up next. we will be right back, but first an update from c-span radio. >> the first post-election meeting between the president and congressional leaders is scheduled for today and has been postponed. a senior white house official tells politico, that we wanted to meet, but they decided that they cannot get. we have been flexible during the whole process. senator harry reid says that they presented this date without of their consent.
staffers have been warning the white house not to assume the invitation had been accepted. house and senate republicans emphasized yesterday as the postponement of the meeting was not a payback, just a desire to better accommodate their own timetable. according to the white house, senator mcconnell said i scheduling conflicts was one reason s to why they needed to -- as to why they needed to postpone it. the office of the first lady has announced that the chief of staff will be returning to chicago after two years of service. of one year, she moved to serve as chief of staff. and bp and its contractors
failed to learn of near misses and ignored warning signs, showing insufficient concerning of risk. the report is due in june. those are some latest headlines on c-span radio theor. >> this saturday, we have a report live from the national archives regarding the international and domestic impact of the war. it begins at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. student camera's video competition is in full swing. make a 5 to 8 minute video on this team, washington, d.c., through my lands. l -- ens. len -- s.
-- lens. the competition is open to middle and high school students grade 6 through 12. all of the rules and how to upload your video, go online c- span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: thanks for being with us. talk about your support for nancy pelosi and who should be the minority leader of the house. guest: democrats would not have made the majority a hat and the progress they had -- history will look at -- they had and the progress they had. history will look at this. she took a lot of heat for
making tough decisions. $2 billion spent to vilify her. democrats understand her skills, accomplishments. i suspect she will be the overwhelming choice of the caucus, not that we do not need to do things differently. are places for other voices, but she has done a good job for the american people. history will show that, and it will be reflected in the vote today. host: scoring the lame duck session, there was an area of grievances. -- during the lame duck session, there was an airing out of grievances. what do you make of it? guest: there was some discussion of the election. what i found touching was people being proud of being part of history. a person after person said we knew it was controversial voting
for health care reform, but they knew it was important to the country. about one person said they would have taken any of those votes differently. i wish the american public could see it. i think history will show that they are right. host: only five blue dogs remain in office. what message does that send to your caucus? guest: it had nothing to do with their votes on energy or health care. those that voted against it are gone. part of it is the economy. when the economy is bad, the people in charge appeared the burden. there are a number of serious where they made inroads into seats that were -- number of areas where they made inroads into certain seats. host: republican caller.
caller: good morning. i live in oklahoma. the democrats did not listen to us. the majority of the country did not approve of the health-care. then george bush's record caused all of these problems. i have to correct you. democrats being in charge of congress the last two years of george bush is where most of the problems started. do you plan on dealing out the state of california when they keep electing the democrats to keep control in that state? guest: great questions. i think it is clear that may be people do not like obama care, but if you break it out in terms of what is in the bill, people love the fact that there are no
longer lifetime limits, their children can be on health care policies and insurance companies cannot cancel your policy when you get sick. when you look at what is in the bill, people love it. you have to pay for some of the things. overall, the elements that are there, people like. with all due respect, that health care bill has things that we fought for, being able to stop runaway entitlements building -- spending for medicare and making it work better, they are in the bill and will stay in public policy because the american people wanted it. host: reviews on tax policy. guest: i hope the president puts down a marker in clear terms if he is feeling we cannot afford
$700 billion borrowing from the chinese and others to extend more of these tax benefits to americans who need it the least. he should say, i will veto it. he can stop this conversation right now by being clear about what he is for and what he is going to do. the american public would much rather have a lower deficit then be able to move forward with these tax cuts for people who need them the least. i would like to give a desert to every friend of mine, but if we are serious about the deficit, we need to get serious about this. we should be talking about reform. if we had $4 trillion to spend, let's get rid of the alternative minimum tax. let's invest in renewing america so we create jobs and move forward. host: he was first elected in
1996. he represents the third district of oregon in the portland area. we have a caller from georgia. caller: the spineless and america -- of america will not say this. what we create from research and development and the fda is with my money. our corporations go over there, and people think it is for the labor, not realizing that they are trying to build their constituency. now they are getting research in redevelopment to india. this stuff belongs to america. research and development. this is the money of the taxpayers. guest: what we did with the
economic recovery act is invest more in american research right here. the national institutes of health. in my community, we have a university that has money that is being used for life-saving and enhancing research. we put money in research for energy. we have not done enough of that. china and india are moving past us in terms putting this in place. high-speed rail. china is investing more in that than everybody else in the world. we will have it in the united states, but the question is will it be research, develop, build, financed by the chinese and repaid them for the privilege or whether we do it in this country. we made a small start toward investing in high-speed rail here. this is one example of what we
need to do to get control of our destiny. we have to rebuild and put americans to work. host: did progressives get more power in the house with the recent election? if nancy pelosi returns to leadership, does it give progressives more power? guest: what has empowered everybody is that there is an opportunity for us to move in ways that will surprise people. i have interacted with a few of the new people coming in, who have a very different views. i think there is an opportunity to reform agricultural spending in this country, to reduce costs, and help farmers and ranchers more. some of the people that ran under the tea party banner believe in that. there is an opportunity to have
different alliances to solve america's problems. host: maine, independent line. caller: this is the first time i have called. lucky me. how long will it take for americans to realize they made a big mistake by voting republican in the midterm elections. the democrats were almost bringing us back to the middle where we belong. if everyon would compromise, we would have a great country. when will people -- how much damage is doing to our economy by according almost $2 trillion? guest: we are in a very fluid political situation. we have had some successful
elections in a row. this was not a vote for republicans, but against the party in power. this is the first wave election in history where the people who were tossed out had higher approval ratings from america than the people that replaced them. we are not as a congress able to deal with problems, putting people to work, continues some of the processes in place and do so in a way when there is actual cooperation. there will be a another way the election coming in a couple of years. we should not look at the next election, but look at the opportunities we have now with the deficit reduction commission recommendation, with new people in congress, and a new sense of urgency built on the foundation that we have to move forward. otherwise, the next election will not matter. host: st. petersburg, florida.
caller: good morning. i do not believe the problem we are having is with congress. i believe the fbi has fallen asleep at the switch. i do not understand how a politician can go in and become five or 10 times richer eight years later or spend more money on a campaign than he can possibly make from winning an election. host: you are saying corruption in government? caller: yes, the fbi and the judicial system is not doing enough to correct the situation. guest: one of the things i have been pleased to see is that there has been a series of investigations and indictments around the country. it has been going on the last half a dozen years. there was an indictment in
metropolitan washington. i do think that investigative authorities, law enforcement, federal and state have been doing a better job of holding people accountable. i am sorry they have to do it. host: a house panel on tuesday found charlie rangel guilty of 11 counts of ethics violations. est: i think that is an accurate assessment. it will go to final adjudication with the overall commission. it looks like they will sustain that. that is a sad commentary. i think it brings disgrace upon the house. it is unfortunate and inexcusable. many make sure that we deal not just with the forms, but also
avoid that activity. it is shameful. host: a formal censure would be a public event. should he step down? guest: the irony is with all of this out, he was renominated henry elected. that -- and we electre-elected. that is a choice he has to make. host: a democratic caller from buffalo, new york. caller: good morning. i want to say that i am from one of the porous states in the
country -- poorest states in the country. people in america should step back and look at what the republican party is doing to the american people. we are so far in debt to the chinese. we need to support the president. our unemployment is high, but the republicans do not understand that we are a poor nation. guest: i agree with you in part and i disagree. we are not a poor nation. we cannot afford to pay twice as much as health care as anybody else in other developed nations. we cannot afford to waste as much energy than anyone else in the world. we cannot afford to spend more on theilitary than the next 17 countries combined and spend
millions from western germany. we are rich, but we do not have exhausted all resources. -- inexhaustible resources. there are great opportunities in china, but that is why we need to stop wasting money in these areas but spend money in investing in renewing america and put people to work in and coast togon snf coast. host: next caller. caller: i have a plan for your earmarks. some have driven billions of dollars away. if i have a checkbook and
billions of dollars in a bank account, i could go around and help families that are facing foreclosure, and getting the mortgage holder and homeowner together, writing them a check, putting it on you too, given the government a better reputation than the republicans and democrats in congress in general has. we can cut out these middlemen and put it on youtube and the start from the grassroots, and something like this would really help people. guest: some interesting points that he mentioned. in terms of the earmarks, i put my request online. i am proud of the money i have been able to help my people get to build a streetcar line and help with environmental protection. to help with community
revitalization. it is transparent. they have made a big difference. i would rather help my committee then rely on the george bush should ministration or the obama administration or the clinton administration. that is. to happen if we eliminate all earmark activity. -- that is going to happen if we eliminate all, the mark activity. i think -- earmark activity. we have to deal with keeping people in their homes right now, modify the terms, and everybody would be better off. the simplest way to do that is to change the bankruptcy laws so that individual homeowners are treated the same way that businesses are in bankruptcy. if that happened, we would be able to work these things out fairly quickly and not have the terrible loss and devastation to individuals.
host: republican in florida. caller: if the middle class gets the tax cuts and the rich people do not, how does that affect my state tax? is it going to go sky high? guest: in terms of the inheritance tax, the proposal that was on the table that the president talked about and what we had passed through the house was to keep it the way it was last year, which would allow a family to exempt all together $7 million for a couple. what has happened, and i have been told by attorneys and financial planners that if somebody with $7 million worth of tax exemptions can protect
$50 million, they do not need a another break, but another attorney and accountant. we are talking three tenths of a percent of the people that will pay an inheritance tax anyway. george steinbrenner passed away with dennis state of $1.5 billion i think. -- with an e state that was $1.5 billion i think. it is appreciated capital. that is what people like warren buffett and bill gates support instituting an inheritance tax at a reasonable level. when looking at a huge budget deficit going on in the future, having a reasonable inheritance tax that started with teddy roosevelt over a century ago, makes sense.
host: thanks so much for being with us this morning. we appreciate it. coming up, we will hear from a democrat from oklahoma who will talk to us about house democrat leadership elections. right now we are taking a look at what images coming to us from the house cannon building, where democrats are gathering this morning to have their leadership elections. that starts at 10:00. ♪ ♪ >> see what people are watching on the c-span video library. we have the most recent video,
most watched, and most shared. it is on our homepage. you can also click on a tap to view continuous coverage of the election. watching what you want to watch, when you want. >> they give up power even for certain reasons. >> in the final volume of this award-winning trilogy on theodore roosevelt, edmund morris reduce some poignant point of his life. that is sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "q&a." >> washington journal continues. host: we were talking that over 20 were elected back in 2006 and only five blocks remain.
-- blue dogs remain. guest: our numbers were more than cut in half. we are the people in the middle. we are the people of that are where most of the country is. it is unfortunate that we have been decimated in this last election. host: here is a story from "tulsa wor." guest: that is correct. i was one of the first people to ask she stepped aside. as a speaker, what we found in
oklahoma and we are finding all across the country is she is a polarizing figure. we need someone that is. to bring the country together, is going to bring the country together, and be bipartisan. when you lose over 60 seats, it is time to step aside. some of these changes that i offer, others that people have been talking about, it gives the power back to the rank in file members. it allows a lot of us that are not from the east or west coast to have a say in our caucus. host: would you like to see representative shuler from north carolina to become the leader? guest: i am backing him. he says he does something he will get the votes. i am holding of hopes that others will join.
i think he is a fellow blue dog and has the courage to stand up for his convictions. we need to move in a new direction. we are not where we need to be. in to 12 -- in 2012, how you go to our district and say we need to elect nancy pelosi as speaker. that is not where the country is right now. host: let us hear from mike in independent college in iowa. caller: it morning. good thing you are going against nancy pelosi. a fox news poll which is the most independent network fare is -- there is. we do not want health care. if you want to reform it, go across certain lines.
it is not your right to demand what we buy in america. guest: great question. i voted against the health care bill. i was one of over 40 democrats that voted against it. i thought it was too large. the way that it was passed, the deals that were done, it really turned off the american public. i think the president should have gotten something passed with republican support. if he had done it incrementally, we could have worked on certain pre-existing conditions. i think everyone agreed that it should be illegal for them to drop it if you become ill. we could come together on that as a congress. unfortunately, president obama failed in our leadership failed to reach across the aisles. they failed to engage the
american public. they basically said to my constituents was we are smarter than you. we need to explain it better. after the shellacking we took in the midterm elections, i think it was the height of arrogance to say, we did not explain it enough. we are smart people in oklahoma. we knew what was going on. it was a bad deal. you cannot spend all of this new money and raise taxes in the middle of a recession. host: blue dog coalition members who lost a reelection bid, many of them voted against the health care bill, voted against climate change legislation and still lost. guest: even if you had been independent for made all of these moves to show your constituents that you are not in
the pocket of leadership, people did not believe you. there was a deterioration of trust out there, not just towards democrats, but public officials in general. i have -- i come from a district and i cannot imagine pearl harbor holding a town hall and some yelling at him. we have to restore that trust. we have an opportunity in the new congress. we have to be bipartisan. reelecting into policy as our leader will do nothing to restore that trust. i am not saying she is a bad person. i think she is polarizing. the people in oklahoma, arkansas, louisiana, north dakota, south dakota, they are thirsting for something new from the democrats. we are saying we will stay with the same slot.
that is wrong. host: ohio, democratic caller. caller: good morning. i am a democrat in have been one for several years. -- a and have been one for several years. there are things you have brought up that i disagree with. from the republican party and our party, they are saying cut, cut, cut. let us get back to bilateral trade and get away from these pre-trade agreements. we need to impose some duties on some of this stuff coming into the country. guest: the democratic party is a big tent party. we need everyone working together. you brought up the issue of trade. we have not had any trade
agreement since the president became president. one person has been very busy trying to put some of these together. we saw south korea fall apart. there is still panel out of there. ama, columbia, and agreements that are out there. we need a fair trade. we need to make sure we are not taken advantage of. we cannot build up a wall around this country. we have a lot of products in oklahoma that the need to be sold across the globe so that we can create jobs across america. we cannot do that without working together. .
guest: i don't think so. i don't think she's going to change. she's been in elective office for a long time. frankly, her strength, the reason why she is probably going to win today is because she has a certain base within the caucus, the progressives. and i don't see her moving to compromise on things. she's more successful when she says no. and people are tired of no. from the republicans and the democrats. they want somebody who's going
to work on compromising -- to compromise on spending, on tax policy and everything else. so it will be real interesting to see what will happen if she does change. but i don't see it. host: some house members have suggested that nancy pelosi could act the role of the heavy, the bad cop, letting president obama be more of the good cop as he heads towards a potential re-election bid himself. guest: he better move to the center. if he doesn't, he's going to be a one-term president. host: do you see a utility there, nancy pelosi sill serving? guest: i don't see a utility i think it would be better if we have leadership in the democratic party to work in tandem with the president to move to the middle. i don't believe in this good cop-bad cop thing. i believe that the american people want someone in the house and the senate -- obviously the
senate retained its majority. but they want people who are not going to be engaging in gridlock. they're tired of it. i am, too. host: let's hear from daniel, republican in brooklyn. guest: hi, daniel. caller: good morning. how are you? i agree with many of the things that the congressman is saying. and as a republican who is a moderate republican, as somebody who is fiscally conservative and socially moderate to liberal, i just think that anybody with any semblance of political strategy would know that you must govern from the center. nancy pelosi being the democrat leader would be a nightmare for the party. it would be very good for the republicans strategically, but it would be very, very bad for the democratic party. host: i'm sorry. i accidentally cut daniel off. guest: i think daniel makes a great point. and i'm glad to see that there are some moderate republicans out there.
both parties have problems with people going so far to the left or the right that they're not able to engage in real discussions in the middle. what you're see, people like evan in the united states leaving, centrist leaving both parties. you saw a great public servant who would have been more electable than christine o'donnell. we need centurists in both parties. we've had some of these successful folks in republican primaries that, frankly, i don't believe are in the mainstream of america. the same could be said with democrats. 60% of the american people are somewhere in the middle. that's where all the work gets done. these people that are on the fringes, they do really well on
these television programs. they come on and they say something that excites the base on the left and the right, but they don't get anything accomplished. frankly, moderates need to speak out. that's what i'm going to do. i was just re-elected. i'm charged, i think in this election, to really get out and speak for the people who don't have is a voice, the moderates, the people who are in the middle. host: what will your relationship be like with a speaker john boehner? guest: we actually have a very warm, personal relationship. i think he's a good person. we'll see how he governs. he's got a tough row to hoe because we have these members who were elected by the tea party saying come over here to the right. he has some members who were elected in the northeast and traditionally democratic areas who are more moderate. so how does he balce that? we'll see.
i think he is a pretty able guy. and i would be surprised if he's not successful. he went through the early 1990's. he saw the mistakes of newt gingrich. so i think he's a good politician. i hope he will reach out to the blue dogs. we have meetings, you know, once a week. it would be very nice if he would come over and visit with some of the blue dog democrats whether it's he, kevin mccarthy and their leadership. we're very open to both democratic leadership and republican leadership coming and visiting with us about common sense solutions. host: to follow up on that, who needs you? do the democrats need the blue dogs if they are in the minority and it looks like progressives are more successful getting re-elected rather than your blue dog coalitions? the republicans need you. they already got the majority. guest: frankly, the republicans are going to lose some people on
votes. and they're going to have to come over whether it be on the budget bill, a spending bill. they're going to have to come over and ask for votes from us. and we're going to have to make the determination, is this a good policy? so can we support them or do we need to stick with the caucus? is there may be a compelling reason to do that. but we're up for grabs. no one's going to take us for granted. that's where most people are. i think it's a really nice place to be. that's where i am. if you look at the percentages, i've never voted straight down line with my party. i'm not voting straight down the line with the republicans either. that's a nice place to be. host: our guest is representative dan boren, democrat of oklahoma. let's hear from mark who's call from germany. good morning, mark. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. thanks for calling from germany. caller: i heard earlier that you said you didn't think pelosi
would be switching any of her positions and that you did not vote for many of the bills that were passed. my question is simple. why don't you switch parties? guest: i've had that question quite a bit. again, i go back to the point of would it be good for me to go to another party or would it be better for me be a voice in the democratic party. of reason, of moderation. i think our party needs it. i think our country needs it. just being another republican, i don't think i solve anything, frankly. and i am a democrat. i'm proud to be a democrat. i've supported making sure that we have a strong social security system. i don't believe in the republicans paying to privatize social security, to privatize medicare, so slash programs.
we have a safety net in this country. the market can't decide evything. i don't have a law degree. i'm an mba guy. i've worked in the business world. but i think at the same time a district like mine, there are some things, some investments, education and infrastructure that the democratic party has always supported. so i'm not a republican. i certainly have very good friends in the republican party. my colleague from oklahoma, delegation. but at the same time, it's good for oklahoma that we have at least one democrat. i think it's good for the country that we have moderates, particularly in the democratic party, to move us to the center. host: gail, republican caller in belgrade, maine. welcome. caller: good morning, congressman. congratulations on your election. you sound like a reasonable man. guest: thank you. caller: i did want to ask a question on the federal budget,
on sustainability. i understand from this conversation that you said on the armed -- sat on the armed forces committee. guest: correct. caller: is it really possible to come to grips with the federal budget without putting the two biggest items on the table, which in discretionary spending is the military budget, the defense budget, as well as the entitlements. but how are we ever going to come to grips with the entitlements telling people that they may have to take less social security or have raising of taxes to save those programs when we have these 700 bases overseas, troops in europe 65 years after world war ii. the same thing in japan, korea. two unsustainable wars in the middle east. we're spending money all over the world that seems to have very little connection with defense. yet if we don't put that on the table for budget cuts to make the budget sustainable and still have a good defense, how are we ever going to come to grips with a federal budget?
and then, finally, tackle the entitlement programs. guest: i think that's a great question. you bring up two points. you mention defense and the pentagon's budget. also, you talked about entitlements. everything should be on the table. i certainly support our military. we have a very large installation in oklahoma. the mcallister army ammunition depots that i support from my position on the armed services committee. but at the same time, secretary gates has talked about waste in the budget, over $100 billion that's out there that could be cut. there's waste in any budget. and there are no sacred cows. so we need to go through line by line in the pentagon's budget. the debt commission has been talking about doing some of that. and entitlement. we can't sustain the entitlement that we have. i think social security is in much better shape than medicare. but we're going to have to make
some tough decisions. i think, frankly, you know, having something along the lines of a base closure commission -- there's talk of this group called the one cent solution. we're going to have to put caps on discretionary spending. we're going to have to do all of these sorts of things to bring our budget back into balance. the president's budget is way out of whack. we just can't -- in both parties, president bush and president obama have been irresponsible. so we're just going to have to go in there and make some severe cuts. frankly, people will lose their election over it, but it's in the best interest of the country. host: lorraine in springfield, missouri, democratic caller. good morning. guest: hi, lorraine. caller: good morning. i'm your neighbor in springfield, missouri. guest: wonderful. caller: i'm a little upset with the blue dogs. guest: ok.
caller: because i am originally from nebraska. and you know what happened with the blue dogs there. guest: ok. caller: but i do wish you would reconsider your thoughts on pelosi, because we do need a strong woman supporting our women's rights. and i feel you are from the bible belt. i know how we feel as how women are not spoken -- are not supposed to speak out and the men are supposed to be the leaders. but i do wish you would reconsider some of the things that nancy has said, because i do think she does really consider some of the things that us women really do need a spokesman for. and i wish you would work with the president, because i feel that you undermine your party, which you say you are a democrat -- and i wish you would take and really consider his strong points and try to push those that are really strong.
i feel like -- i read my hometown papers. and ben nelson is not a democrat. he's just walking in those shoes. and i have called his office and told them if i had a vote in nebraska -- i own a farm out there -- i would never put him back in office because they just move up. they went from mayor to governor, and then they go into politics in the national forum. host: let's get a response from our guest. guest: well, thanks. first, something about ben nelson. ben is a friend. i think he's done an admirable job in his state not only in the senate but also in other elected offices there in nebraska. but, you know, i understand what you're saying. a lot of the die-hard yellow dogs who are from oklahoma have been upset with me. they say, oh, gosh, you're too
conservative, you've moved too much to the middle. what i would say to them is, you know, there are all types of democrats. there are people in the middle, centurists or conservatives, progressives. we need everybody to be a majority party. i think by saying we're going to go with the left bank of our party is a recipe -- left blank of our party is a recipe for disaster. my wife is a very strong woman. i think it's very important we do have women in leadership just not this one. there are plenty of centurist women in the democratic caucus. jane harmon from california has been very strong on national defense. there many female blue dogs who i think would do an excellent job as speaker. but it's not about gender. it's about policy.
and, you know, sometimes in the democratic party we get too tied up in interest groups and making one group happy over the other. this isn't about groups. this is about public policy. this is about the future direction of our country. host: and congressman, can you name a few of those women? 4çu"â-aim fromñiñi pennsylvania. she has been very strong. she hasñi been thea5ui ranking r on the intelligence committee. breathlpñi ofxd experience. someone who, you öñ knows the issues veryñi well. we used tomy have kirstençójfwó gillibrand.çóñi ñr these are very strong women who i think would do anxd excellent job in leadership role. that'sñi what's soñrçó toughi whethevó÷íy it's talking aboutf
4-!hey should notñi be açó parti discussion.çób. çóc >> the commerce department says construction of new homes sank nearly 12% last month, the poorest showing since april 2009 when construction dropped to the lowest level on record dating back to 1959. the federal deposit insurance corporation is conducting about
50 criminal investigations of former executives, directors, and employees at u.s. banks that have failed since the start of the financial crisis. the agency responsible for dealing with bank failures is stepping up its effort to punish alleged recklessness, fraud and other criminal behavior as u.s. officials did in the wake of the savings & loan crisis a generation ago. and paul watson writing for prisonplanet.com, says the transportation security administration has been hit with a number of lawsuits as they revolt again naked body scanners and invasive groping measures increases. the agency's administrator testifies about the security measures this morning before the senate commerce committee. hear live coverage on c-span radio at 10:00 a.m. eastern. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> this saturday, tune in as american history tv offers a day-long symposium on the civil war live from the national
archives with historians giving a new perspective on the domestic and international impacts of the war. our coverage starts at 9:00 a.m. eastern on american history tv telling the american story every weekend, only on c-span3. >> this year's student cam video documentary competition is in full swing. make a five to eight-minute video on this year's theme, washington, d.c., "through my lens." your documentary should include the view along with c-span prograing. upload your video for a chance to win the grand prize. there's $50,000 in total prizes. the competition is open to middle and high school students grades six through 1. for all the rules and how to up load your video, go on continue to loo studentcam.org -- to studentcam.org. host: thanks for coming in. guest: thanks.
host: yesterday you had a story from bloomberg. talk to us about what lawmakers are hearing right now. there's a u.s. senate hearing that's been going on. guest: yesterday the senate banking committee met. and for the first time brought the banks to talk about the foreclosure mess that we've been watching since september, i suppose. it was the first opportunity that congress had to grill these guys on what has gone wrong. and they brought in two of the biggest banks, j.p. morgan, jpmorgan chase and bank of america which is the largest mortgage servicer in the country. we're looking for answers. i don't think we really got a lot of new information from the banks. but their bottom line was that we regret making mistakes in the foreclosure process. we're trying to fix the system. there was some con thrition from the banks -- contrition from the
banks. the banks are talking to regulators and law enforcement about how to make repairs. host: this is congress' first crack at talking about this, as you mentioned. they were on recess when a lot of this started to evolve and come to light. what was the mood or the atmosphere of the senators? guest: it was interesting because pretty much every member on the committee had a story from someone back in their district about a foreclosure gone wrong or a home loan modification gone wrong. all of these horror stories about homeowners and borrowers getting trapped in the system. the banks, again, were confronted with these dozens of examples of individual homeowners. lawmakers also said they had been overwhelmed with calls from constituents during the recess. you know, people begging for help. so it was a chance for the
lawmakers to vent after a couple of months of having to deal with this. host: let's look at some of the comments that senator chris dodd made yesterday. >> we need to keep in mind that the bad mortgage servicing is far more than a technical issue. at the same time, we must all acknowledge that not all every delinquent borrower home ought to be saved or can be saved. in my view, we need to strike a balance, have morrow bust loan modifications, including loan modifications that result in real principle forgiveness that will finally put an end to our housing crisis. at the same time, i hope you will agree that we can expedite foreclosure that cannot be prevented, for example, a significant number of homes waiting foreclosure are vacant today in the country. there's no reason in the world to slow down the process on these homes. we will need to work together going forward if we hope to finally put an end to this housing crisis. host: banking committee chairman chris dod speaking yesterday.
our --- dodd speaking yesterday. you had a story a couple of days ago where you were talking about this new report that's ou this november oversight report, the panel looking at what really went wrong. we're talking about mostly these robo-signed loans. there's sort of a best case scenario and worst case scenario as to what went wrong and what the implications might be. can you talk about those? guest: this panel was selected to oversee tarp, basically, th the $700 billion bailout of banks. it raised the question of whether or not the foreclosures and the problem of the system would get so bad that it would start creating some sort of systemic pressure on the banks. they raised the question, you know, will we see banks start to take such big losses from this that they could fail? and the panel's answer was, yes, this is something we should be
concerned about. that was their sort of takeaway, worst case scenario. now, this goes against what the u.s. treasury has said. the obama administration repeatedly has said foreclosures -- the problem is bad. the problems with the system are bad. they're hurting the economy, but we can get through it, there's not going to be any sort of catastrophic failure in the system. now, the panel got a lot of attention because they were the first sort of high-level group, government group, to raise this concern that, wait a minute, you know, the obama administration might not be right, we disagree with them. so you had heard chris dodd just a minute ago also saying that we need to keep pushing these foreclosures through the system because if we put some sort of moratorium on them, it will only make the economic recovery even more sluggish. host: senator ted kaufman, delaware, who chairs this panel,
talked about how in a worst scais scenario -- case scenario, the robo signing, might not just be an error on the banks, a mistake that was made, an error in judgment, but it can -- he said the banks cannot prove that they own mortgage loans that they claim to. he said repercussions could be that people might be owning the mortgage that someone else owns, and two banks could try to foreclose on the same property. and this could get incredibly complicated and incredibly messy. is that the first time we heard this sort of dire warning that there could be a whole layer under this? the. guest: the consumer groups and bankruptcy lawyers, the foreclosure defense lawyers, have been saying this for quite a while, even before september when we first started seeing the robo signing issue surface. the problem is this. ouour mortgage system has gotten
so complicated that the industry created basically legal shortcuts for document who owns the loan. it used to be back in the day would you go into your courthouse, back in the 1980's, and you would see stacks of mortgages, you know, waiting to be entered into the courthouse system. your local counties were overwhelmed with this when real estate started to really bubble up. and so the industry -- the mortgage industry said we're going to make this all digital. we're going to put everything into a database. we're not going to record every piece of paper. so that's where this problem comes in, this sort of non-transparent, digital, industry-owned system of decide who owns a mortgage, when a mortgage is transferred, how to record that transfer. that's what these consumer groups are talking about. you know, banks, say, no, we've got it under control, the system
has been working. there's never been a dispute over who owns the mortgage. and the examples of improper foreclosures at the end of the day, we don't really see -- we don't have very many examples of those. they're saying everything is fine. we'll see. host: let's get to some calls. kenny joins us, a republican in indiana. good morning. caller: i have a question for lorraine. like i said, i watch "washington journal" every morning. i've been retired for eight years. i'm 67 years old. i consolidated all of my debt when i retired so that i could have all my ducks in a row. what i found is now, today, my interest rate on my mortgage is like 7.5% because i done it eight years ago. today i try to refinance because the interest rates are low, and my bank is telling me now that i owe more than my property is
worth. so in order for me -- there's no way that i can even get the local banks to even get interested in refinancing my property. they won't even do it. they won't even talk to me about it. i know a lot of people around me that are in the same boat. here i am 67 years old, and i'm paying a high interest rate on my property that the value is no longer as high -- i can't get it appraised. in other words, i owe more money than what the property is worth. guest: that's right. so you're under water. right? this is the crux of the problem here. in your case, your 7.5% loan is probably owned by some investor or some group of investors somewhere. you're still paying on your loan. they have no incentive to write
down the principle on your loan. they have no incentive to lower your interest rate. the bank that services your loan, you know, the bank that sends you your bills every month and collects your checks every month, sends you your late notices every month, they get paid, you know, for servicing you. they get paid more if you're delinquent on your loan. say if they have to come after you for money. they have no incentive to reduce your principle or your interest. so the only person who wants to reduce your principle and your interest is you. so this is the type of force that you're up against. and the obama administration is up against as well. we have programs in place to try to help people like you. but because of the banks and the investors, those programs are having a hard time getting traction. host: let's go to our next caller. we have in vienna, virginia, gary, democrats' line. guest: hi, gary.
caller: good morning. i have a situation where we got a 15-year loan a few years ago with a bank. i'll just say w. i won't say anything further. it was never sold, traded, or moved or reassigned. i started getting calls in the middle of this year. and they sounded like call us up, we'll help you out. and i called them up. it was my mortgagor saying they were helping me get my loans squared away. when i asked them about the status, my loan, in the middle of 2010, was paid until 2011. so well in good standing, well paid ahead, yet for months i would get as many as six calls a week and several letters a month. and when i would call or follow-up, everybody would say i have no idea why you're calling.
so i found out who the executive was who was responsible for mortgage lending, and i wrote a letter to his office outlining the facts of the situation. a representative from that office called me up and said we don't have any idea why you're getting these calls. and just ignore them. and so i followed up with a letter outlining how since this had my credit rating at risk, i was going to be severe in my reaction if something wasn't done. and i never got any reaction from that. the calls did stop. since then i've had my loan refinanced away from that company who i'll just call w, a big, national company who was the originator. so no movement of the mortgage, no reassigning of the mortgage, nothing out of pattern. no lateness.
no delinquency. yet i was getting calls asking me about fixing my situation. host: let's get a response. this is very interesting. it sounds like the problem you ran into is with the servicer. the servicer may own your loan, as you said. it hadn't been assigned. but up until a couple of years ago the servicer's job was to send you a billand collect your check, take their cut and send the rest off to the investors or wherever.
yesterday she said they regretted the problems and they were doing what they could to fix them. host: "the washington post," top story today, reports that state attorneys general and the country's biggest lenders are negotiating to create a nationwide fund to compensate borrowers who can prove they lost their home in an improper foreclosure. it would aide state investigators in their effort to seek relief for homeowners who were wronged. was this talked about at all on the panel yesterday? and is there any discussion in congress about how they feel about this? guest: tom miller, the iowa state attorney general, is leading the caus leading the investigation with foreclose yours. this was brought up. miller did meet with some federal regulators while he was in town yesterday. he said that a deal is months away. he wants to make sure that he
does it right. he doesn't want to just say here's the fund to payout victims and everything's fine. he wants to fix the system, fix some of these problems that your callers have been raising. host: brent, democrat in seattle. welcome. caller: good morning. host: good morning. you're on with lorraine woellert from bloomberg. caller: great. basically i would like to make this quick comment and -- bankers and financers are pretty much overwhelmingly caw caution -- caucasian, male republican. regarding action of the building, buildings being a durable good, we need to bring back the home prices. i always look at the basic economic standpoint of perhaps if we provide a dividend of 25% for demolition of deed-held properties aged 60 years or plus with a restriction not to build
on that -- for the homeowner not to build on that land. it's almost like cash for clunkers. and what they do in japan for old cars. you can't have cars in japan that are over 25 years on the road. so get rid of, you know, people that have owned their properties outright, the government just needs to maybe pay them 25%. we got to get rid of this surplus. it's just too much old buildings. that would bring up the home prices. host: let's get a response. guest: some of the money that the federal government has been giving to states has been used to experiment with novel ideas, sort of like the one you're raising. and some states have, in fact -- are in fact, considering ideas like this. i think michigan might be talking about something like this. so the states are really where this type of experiment is going to happen. host: moving on to fort
lauderdale, florida. george, independent line. good morning. caller: good morning, ladies. host: hi. caller: all i heard during the beginning of tarp, all of these executives and so forth complaining that contractual law, we cannot change their bonuses, we cannot do this because of contractual law. now all of a sudden when they're messing up the mortgages and not following procedure, it's not a big deal. how is that possible? how is that fair? guest: part of the problem is that the homeownership, real estate law and mortgage law is heavily governed by state law, local law. the federal government does have some authority through hud primarily and also now through fannie mae and freddie mac to a degree. so this is an issue that's always been sort of handled at the state and local level. it's just now, in the past couple of years, bubbled up to a federal level.
and lawmakers are trying to figure out being regulators, are trying to figure out what to do. the proposed fund that we were speaking of earlier that's in the negotiation stage right now, "the washington post" says it would be the first of its kind in the mortgage industry and would mirror conversation efforts set up in recent years in response to the b.p. oil spill in the gulf of mexico, the shootings at virginia tech, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. but even in these discussions taking place and sort of moving forward in the initial stages, there are court cases going forward. so what are we look at as far as penalties, criminal penalties or anything like that, for some of these big kms? -- companies? guest: the state attorneys general has the ability to levy fines, of course, as you see. the federal government, especially hud, has the ability to levy fines. the justice department is investigating the whole mess. and, of course, they can bring criminal penalties. but really the movement right
now has been in civil litigation where bankruptcy lawyers and foreclosure defense lawyers have really been the ones sort of bringing pressure to bare on the banks. and that is, you know, a county-by-county, city-by-city fight. host: so happening really at this very local level. bloomberg reported about these taking place in places like ohio. guest: exactly. host: people who have been involved in this foreclosure process seeking a lawyer and taking it to court now. guest: right. and think about it. you're in foreclosure, presumably you're having money problems. can you afford to pay a foreclosure lawyer to defend you against the banks? in most cases the answer is no, of course, you can't. so often times you see these borrowers just lose their homes because they have nobody to make their case for them. host: let's hear from sandra in wisconsin. hi there. caller: oh, it's so good to talk to you this morning. the way i look at it, people
overzealously played with money. and homeowners seem to be the last bastien for coming up with revenue. my property dropped 25% in a year, but i got a show on the 31 of december, pay full property taxes. that is stealing. you know? that is stealing. i think they should give us some kind of a bankruptcy -- it should be there for us now. guest: some states -- localities -- again, this is a state-by-state, county-by-county problem. some localities are re-examining their tax base and trying to provide relief for homeowners because property prices have fallen. again, the pressure is that the local governments need the money to pay for their schools or what not, their roads. so, you know, that's where that tension is happening. host: democrat in florida.
good morning. caller: yes. good morning. thank you for taking my call. i'm calling about a situation my daughter has. she lives in minnesota. it seems very strange to me, and i just would like your comments on it. about three years ago she had some financial reversals. she had to file bankruptcy. her house was foreclosed on. she got a notice that some months down the road there would be a sale. she heard nothing more. then about a year, a year and a half ago someone came to the door and told her they wanted to try to work out the situation where she could continue to pay for the house, and she could refinance. so she said they talked for a couple of hours and finally came to an agreement. the gentleman said, well, i will go in and have the papers drawn up, and we will send you the paperwork and you sign it and we're good. well, she didn't hear anything for a week or two. after what seemed like maybe an unreasonable amount of time she
called them, finally got a hold of someone after many attempts, and they said, oh, well, you never returned the paperwork. and she says, well, i never received any paperwork. and they said, well, you know, e deal's no good anymore because we didn't get the paperwork back. well, whether they sent it out or not is anybody's guess. but what has happened -- then they set a sheriff's sale for last february. and about a month before the sale was supposed to take place they sent her another message and said, no, it won't be until march. before that happened they sent another message, no, it will be in october. a month before that, she gets another message. no, it will be december. host: is that where you're at right now, just a holding pattern, being pushed off? caller: yes. and now the sale, they say, is set for march. host: is that a story you have heard before? guest: i have not heard the story about the constantly delayed foreclosure sale.
but the f.b.i. and the federal trade commission are among the agencies that are very concerned about fraud in the loan modification. where people come in and take advantage of homeowners who are in distress and either get them to sign over their house, for example -- so i don't know if your daughter experienced a fraudster coming into her home or not, but the f.b.i. is aware of this problem. host: let's go to colleen, independent caller in tennessee. caller: yes, ma'am. good morning. my thought on most of this is, why don't people take their money out of the big investment banks that are too big to fail like jpmorgan chase, citibank, goldman sachs, morgan stanley, and go back to their community banks and credit unions? you still have a $250,000 limit,
you know, your deposits. why hang around with these big banks? they've taken all the money. they're still continuing to pay out big bonuses. just take your money. simple enough. that's what we did out of bank of america. go to a community bank. host: are you hearing people suggest that? how much power do people really have over that? caller: some community banks are less able or less willing to make home loans. i'm sure i'll get a lot of calls from banks complaining about that statement. but, you know, the bigger banks have the more capacity to provide loans. so there is a competition issue. i know the credit unions are trying to get congress to allow them to make more loans so they can compete with the big banks. so far they've been unsuccessful but they're still working at it. host: lorraine woellert, bloomberg news, housing policy reporter. thanks so much for being with us this morning.
guest: thanks. host: coming up, we'll talk with reporter molly hooper who is on the phone now to join us. she is giving us a preview of what's happening today in the house, leadership election for the democrats, and also the republicans. good morning, molly. guest: good morning. host: where are you? are you outside of the cannon building right now? guest: no. i'm actually en oute. host: we imagine you'll be spending quite a bit of time there today. guest: quite a bit. i'm also going to be spending time in the front lobby as well as the cannon building because republicans hold their conference meetings later today in the lobby -- well. host: molly hooper, congressional reporter for "the hill." we've been talking about what's expected in the democratic conference meeting. there is this battle shaping up between speaker pelosi and representative schueler who said he would like to be the minority leader. are you hearing that that's
getting any retraction? is it changing at all? guest: well, the thing is -- and he said this on sunday on cnn's "state of the union" that he yes, he was going to challenge nancy pelosi if she didn't step aside. but then a few minutes later he said, "i know that i don't have the votes to win that" and he pretty much conceded that point last night when reporters grabbed him off the floor during the regular house votes last night. he said the caucus needs to take a vote on an option, sort of a more conservative, you know, switch -- the house democratic leadership. but, again, he said i just don't have the votes. host: and we have a camera right now where democrats will be meeting momentarily to talk about their leadership. molly hooper, what is the drama that's going to unfold here today? will we hear about discussion
and debate between the blue dog groups and the folks who are supporting pelosi? from what you just said it sounds like there's not a lot of suspension in what's going to happen today. so what will be the takeaway? guest: exactly. that will be the takeaway. they will be debating it. it's been so busy since the elections. host: very busy on capitol hill, too. guest: in general, today what we will see is, yeah, debates unfold between -- [inaudible] you know, more progressive members of the caucus. blue dogs want a seat at the table. and not necessarily blue dogs. there are more moderate new democrats. the new democratic coalition. ron kind, wisconsin democrat, is an example of that. people who feel that their leadership didn't quite get the message during the election. the only problem is the individual who lost during the
elections were those moderate conservative democrats who would be supporting shuler for a leader. so pelosi does have the votes, but shuler and the remaining 20-some-odd blue dogs want to actually have this debate within their caucus to say, listen, we need fresh blood, we need to be represented at the table. i think also democrats are going to discuss -- and this is what i've heard. you know, their role in the next two years. i think part of the depression that we've seen over the past two days with congress returning for the first time since the election, democrats actually seeing each other, the depression that they're feeling have to do with, yes, a huge chunk of our caucus is going home. but also what role are we going to play over the next two years? we are going to have to defend our president, and we're the minority party. it's a situation in which republicans found themselves during the 110th congress when bush was president.
the classic so-called democratic majority maker, nancy pelosi's majority maker, that, you know -- they see that republicans didn't have too much fun in that role. and they're really concerned about it. i think what also concerns them is that their leaders are exactly.same. so where is the change going to take place? that's what they want to discuss. host: and molly hooper, you mentioned you will also be spending some time where republicans will meet to choose their leadership. not a lot of surprises there. what will be the most interesting things that you'll be looking to dom out of that? -- come out of that? guest: well, there's a few things. number one, the freshmen. there are 80-some-odd fresh mone republican conference members. it is beyond comprehension for a lot of the sitting republicans, the remaining, you know,
incumbent republicans who will be returning next year. and they're going to want to -- this will be the first time that the entire conference to the 112th conference meets officially. and i think that the republican freshmen are going to discuss, you know, this idea -- they wanted to discuss the issue of the waivers, whether or not to grant certain ranking members, gop current ranking members like joe barton on the energy commerce comms, whether to grant them waivers to allow them to stay as chairman -- chairmen of those committees. the republicans ruled the term limit, only two terms as a chairman. if you're a ranked member for two terms, then you possibly can have a waiver. a lot of freshmen don't necessarily think that's such a great idea i think that the incumbents are going to obviously be very congratulate triof their new colleagues. but i -- congratulatory of their
new colleagues. i have to tell you this freshmen class is going to be pretty vocal. not necessarily butt heads but they're going to be vocal. i think everybody who's returning wants to experience it. host: and finally, what's the fallout on what happened yesterday, the house panel that found representative rangle -- lengle -- rengle guilty -- rangel guilty of ethics violations? guest: because there's so much going on, people have been discussing it. i haven't heard too many calls for rangel to step down. in part because a lot of people that would be affected by that, you know, going politically, were defeated in the election.
and that sounds so cynical, but sometimes congress is kind of a cynical place. however, what is interesting, though, is whether he's going to try to go for his ranking member . you know, he stepped down earlier this year pending the ethics investigation. you know, with the intention to seek that top-ranking position on the committee as soon as it was resolved. well, if the ethics committee decides to grant him a certain -- you know, they have different sort of punishments or rep mands -- reprimands if found guilty. if the house votes on that, he might be denied that opportunity so that's one thing people are interested in right now. but i have not heard too many calls for him to step down. host: molly hooper, congressional reporter for "the hill." thanks so much for joining us this morning. guest: no problem. thank you.
host: let's get back to the phones for a couple of minutes. we've been talking throughout the morning about leadership positions and how much you think the ection of these leadership roles really matters. we've got dallas on the line, democratic caller. good morning. caller: good morning. host: hi, dallas. caller: hi. thanks for taking my call. long-time listener, first-time caller. you guys have made me a better man. i can't thank you enough. but anyway, i'm calling in response to the gentleman who called who refinanced his home about eight years ago and then retired. you know, he probably bought some fancy car or boat or took a vacation and then refinanced his home and now he cannot refinance it. i suggest that he take some money out of savings or sell one of those items and go down and give the bank some money and refinance his home. or pay more per month and lower
that interest by paying, you know, an extra $50, $200 a month or whatever. that's all. thanks for c-span. american people, you know, get back to work. host: we're looking at images right now of the cannon building. let's go to brian, republican caller in wilmington, delaware, in the meantime. hi, brian. caller: hi. it was basically a comment. it just seems like we've, as a society, almost forgotten about sort of the bailouts and things like that, kind of how it all started not so much from the tarp. and i understand that we needed help after that. but it seems like it was a series going all the way back to truman where we started doing bank deregulations and things like that. in my mind, it still seems like instead of too big to fail it just seems like it should have been nicknamed too connected to fail.